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No red beacons for MoS in UP,says HC

Bench stayed state govt order by which status of cabinet,state and deputy ministers were being given to those not holding constitutional posts

Written by SURBHI KHYATI | Lucknow | Published: December 19, 2013 1:49:21 am

In line with the Supreme Court guidelines,the Allahabad High Court has ordered the state government to ensure that red beacons are not used by those given the status of minister of state.

Hearing a PIL filed by one Sachchidanand on the matter on Wednesday,the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court also stayed a state government order by which the status of cabinet,state and deputy ministers were being given to those not holding constitutional posts.

“The High Court has passed an interim order that states that the state government should ensure that persons with status of ministers do not use red beacons and also issued notices to such persons. It also stayed the order by which the state government provided status of ministers,” said Zafaryab Jilani,Additional Advocate General of Uttar Pradesh,who represented the state government in court.

The Supreme Court had on December 10 ruled that red beacons on vehicles can only be used by people listed as “high dignitaries”,that too only when on duty. It had held that the post and status of constitutional functionaries cannot be equated with others and neither can it be conferred to any person,whosoever may be,in case he or she is not holding a constitutional post.

Quoting the order,the Bench of Justices Devi Prasad Singh and Ashok Pal Singh said persons not holding office under constitutional provisions cannot be conferred the status of constitutional functionaries,directly or indirectly.

The Uttar Pradesh government had in 2007 passed an office memorandum according to which the status of constitutional functionaries was conferred upon persons holding office of chairman,vice-chairman of different Local Bodies or establishment of the State and Advisors of Government.

Staying the order,the high court said prima facie the purpose of the order is to bypass the constitutional provisions and confer status of constitutional functionaries to persons who are not holding the office under the Constitution of India whereas privileges,right and status available to the constitutional functionaries cannot be conferred on any person by notification or even by statutory mandate.

The court issued notices to all those persons upon whom state government has conferred the status of cabinet minister or state minister – some of whom the petitioner had made respondents in the case — and has asked them to file counter affidavits within six weeks. The matter is to be posted after two months for hearing.

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